University of Minnesota
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The Humphrey School of Public Affairs is the University of
Minnesota's school of policy and planning.

Kathryn S. Quick

Assistant Professor, Public and Nonprofit Leadership Area

Phone: 612-625-2025
Office: 235 Humphrey School

Areas of Expertise

Inclusive public management, designing civic engagement and public participation processes, integrative leadership, collaborative governance, urban planning, local government, environmental planning, theories of practice, ethnographic methods


Dr. Quick’s research intersects the public and nonprofit management, urban planning, and public policy fields. She focuses on practices and processes for involving diverse stakeholders in policy-making to address complex public problems, particularly the role of public and nonprofit managers and agencies in public engagement. Her research settings involve a range of policy content areas (often but not exclusively transportation, urban planning, risk, and environmental management), the common thread being analysis of how they are enacted and their consequences for policy outcomes and democratic capacity-building. She is particularly interested in how inclusive processes for engaging diverse stakeholders in defining problems, generating solutions, and collaborating on implementation may build resources to support social and ecological resilience.

Dr. Quick produces several types of research contributions. The first are theoretical papers that provide new conceptual frameworks for inquiry and analysis (e.g., Quick and Feldman 2014 on boundary work to build resilience through collaboration; Quick and Feldman 2011 on distinguishing participation and inclusion in public engagement). The second are also theoretical contributions, but they combine a rich account of particular engagement settings or methods with grounded theory development (e.g., Quick and Sandfort 2014 on how deliberation facilitators learn their craft; Feldman and Quick 2009 on contrasting 2 approaches to public budgeting and consequences for community capacity building; Quick et al. 2014 on participants’ accounts of learning through deliberation about transportation problems). Dr. Quick also produces new frameworks to guide professional practice in planning, management, or policy-making, accomplished by synthesizing existing empirical and theoretical research (e.g., Bryson et al. 2013 on designing public participation processes; Quick and Zhao 2011 and Quick 2014 on public engagement in transportation policy).

Dr. Quick’s research, teaching, and service commitments grow out of her professional practice. She worked as an environmental advocate and policy analyst in Indonesia for 8 years and as a community development manager in 2 Californian cities over 6 years. She holds a Ph.D. in Planning, Policy, and Design from the University of California, Irvine, a master’s degree in city and regional planning (concentrating in environmental planning) from the University of California, Berkeley, and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Swarthmore College.

Curriculum Vitae (PDF)

Courses Taught

Dr. Quick teaches Management of Organization, the Integrative Leadership Seminar, Managing Civic Engagement, and the Integrative Doctoral Seminar in Public Affairs, and advises students from several colleges working on public engagement and communication strategies for complex policy issues.

Go to the University of Minnesota One Stop website to apply for these and other public affairs courses.

For syllabi for the current or upcoming semester, please visit the University of Minnesota's Course Guide and look for the syllabus icon. If the syllabus is not there, contact the instructor directly. Syllabi are available in alternative formats upon request. Please contact Stacey Grimes at or 612-626-1329 for assistance.

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